Queen ‘trapped in Catch 22’ with Prince Andrew ahead of Ghislaine Maxwell trial

The Queen is "trapped" in a "Catch 22" situation over Prince Andrew's links with billionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, a royal commentator has claimed.

Her Majesty, 95, is in "dangerous territory" regarding how it manages the fallout of the Duke of York's ties to the disgraced late financier and his alleged accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell, the expert claimed.

Andrew was stripped of his "royal job, patronages and reputation" following his "infamous" interview on BBC current affairs show Newsnight in November 2019.

Writing for Australian website news.com.au, Daniela Elser claims the monarch is under intense pressure to act before Maxwell's trial begins in the US on July 12.

"The palace and the Queen are trapped in a Catch 22 situation here: The public wants to see Andrew disciplined and forced to pay more of a price for his abysmal choices however having lost his royal job, patronages and reputation what else is there to take away?" she asked.

"Short of Her Majesty forcing him to mow the acres and acres (literally) of palace lawn every week or pushing him out of a speeding Range Rover in front of the US Embassy and leaving him to the FBI, royal hands are tied. (Given decades worth of reports painting Andrew as the sovereign’s favourite son, that seems hardly likely to happen.)"

Maxwell, 59, daughter of media mogul Robert, faces charges of sex trafficking for her alleged work with billionaire Epstein, who was found hanged in his prison cell on August 9, 2019, while awaiting trial.

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And although, according to Elser, Maxwell's trial will no doubt rekindle the public's interest in the royal, Andrew's latest business partner is bound to raise a few eyebrows.

The duke has reportedly launched a company with former banker Harry Keogh, who resigned from royal favourite Coutts in 2018 after being accused of "touching a female colleague inappropriately and boasting about his sexual exploits".

"If you think for even a moment that Andrew might have used the time since his swift and totally humiliating fall from grace and public life for a spot of reflection then clearly you have been enjoying whatever cocktail Princess Margaret used to rely on to get her through house parties in rural Wales," Elser said.

She added: "While it might have been nearly 17 months since the royal gave his now infamous BBC interview, serving up a mish mash of ‘alibis’ to disprove allegations which he vehemently denies that he had sex with Virginia Giuffre, then 17 and an alleged sex slave, the world has not forgotten, not for an instant."

In the Newsnight interview, Andrew "categorically denied" having any sexual contact with Giuffre.

The Duke said he was at home after taking his daughter, Princess Beatrice, to Pizza Express in Woking, Surrey.

He has also repeatedly denied claims that he is refusing to cooperate with the FBI and their investigations into Maxwell and Epstein.

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